DUBAI – Reuters: Two sources familiar with the matter said that the Saudi sovereign “Public Investment Fund” is holding talks at an early stage to buy a stake in the global “LuLu Group” of retail chains.
The two sources added that talks are taking place with Indian-born businessman Yusuf Ali, who founded the UAE-based “Lulu”, one of the largest chains in the Gulf region. One of the sources said that discussions between the fund and “Lulu” began four to six weeks ago.
It was not immediately clear how much stake the Public Investment Fund was seeking to buy, as the talks are at an early stage, or whether the talks will lead to a final process.
LuLu Group runs shopping centers, large retail stores and other activities that generate $ 7.4 billion annually, according to its website.
The group operates operations in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The Public Investment Fund, which manages $ 360 billion in assets, declined to comment. He said in. Nandakumar, Director of Marketing and Communications at Lulu Group, said in an e-mailed response: “As a policy we never comment on market speculation and media rumors.” Two sources familiar with the talks said the Abu Dhabi government-owned Holding Company had invested $ 1 billion in LuLu this year. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
The Public Investment Fund is seen as leading the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy, as the authorities seek to transform it into the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. The Saudi government has sought to expand the retail sector in the Kingdom as part of a drive to create one million job opportunities by this year.
The Public Investment Fund invested $ 500 million in the e-commerce company, Noon, which soon after began its operations in the Kingdom. He also invested indirectly in the initial public offering of the “Arabian Centers Company”, which runs Saudi shopping centers.
Reliance Industries, owned by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has approached the fund to buy a stake in its retail unit.
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